Over the years common questions people ask me are, “How do I find investors?” and “How do I raise capital?” I understand the questions, because these have haunted me when I left the security of a constant paying job as a Chartered Accountant in one of the most respected Embassy in Nigeria and became an entrepreneur myself. I had no money, and no one wanted to invest with me. The big venture-capital firms were not knocking on my door.
So what do I tell these people? I tell them, “You just do it. You do it because you have to do it. If you don’t, you are out of business.
“Today, even though I have enough money, all I do is raise capital. For an Entrepreneur that is Job No. 1.
We raise capital from three groups of people:
customers, investors, and employees. Your job as an entrepreneur is to get your customers to buy your products. If you can get customers to give you money by buying your products, your investors will give you lots of money. And if you have employees, your job is to get them to produce and make you at least ten times more money than you pay them. If you can’t get your employees to produce at least ten times more than you pay them, you’re out of business, and if you’re out of business, you don’t need to raise any more money.” You do not have to raise the capital to create your business, because that has already been done for you. But you do have to build your business!
This is not the answer most people are looking for. Most are looking for the magic formula, the secret recipe, the quick business plan to riches. This doesn’t seem to be the answer they are hoping I’ll give, either, because I notice them squirming when I say this stuff. Why? Because while most authors who write about entrepreneurship, are not themselves entrepreneurs, they still have a steady job with a steady paycheck.
My point is not that you have to raise money. In fact as we make progress in this forum, you do not have to raise the capital to create your business, because that has already been done for you. But you do have to build your business!
My point is that this is what defines an entrepreneur: You make things happen.
You pull yourself out of the rows of passenger seats, walk to the head of the bus, and get behind the wheel of your life.
What Do You Need to Be an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are the richest people on earth. We know the names of the famous entrepreneurs: Richard Branson and Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola e.t.c. But most wealthy entrepreneurs are people you and I will never hear of, because they don’t command media attention; they just quietly live rich lives. Have you heard of Bayo Ogunlesi who has four big Airports in the United Kingdom? Is a Nigerian like us.
I often hear people debate the question, “Are entrepreneurs born or can they be developed?” Some think it takes a special person or a certain magic to be an entrepreneur. To me, being an entrepreneur is not that big a deal; you just do it.
Let me give you an example. There’s a Primary school holder in my neighborhood who has a thriving baby-sitting business and hires a teenager who just completed her WAEC to work for her in the comfort of her home making N120,000.00 monthly.
She is an entrepreneur. Another young boy has a handyman business after school. He is an entrepreneur.
Today, there are millions of people who dream of quitting their jobs and becoming entrepreneurs, running their own businesses. The problem is, for most people, their dream is just a dream. So, the question is, why do so many fail to go for their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
I have a friend who is a brilliant hairstylist. When it comes to making women look beautiful, he is a magician. For years, he’s talked about opening his own salon. He has big plans, but sadly, he still remains small, running a single chair in a large salon, constantly at odds with the owner.
Another friend has a wife who became tired of being a Banker. Two Years ago, she quit her job and went to school to become a hairstylist. A month ago, It takes courage to discover, develop and donate your genius to the world. she had a grand opening for her salon. It is a spectacular environment and she has attracted some of the best hairstylists to work there.
When the first friend heard about her salon, he said, “How can she open a salon? She has no talent. She is not gifted. She wasn’t trained like I was. And besides, she doesn’t have any experience. The point is that she’s doing it. She has grasped the impact that courage has in shaping our lives. It takes courage to discover, develop and donate your genius to the world.
Research shows that most lottery winners who win in excess of $3 million each, 80 percent are bankrupt within three years. Why? Because money alone does not make you rich. These people may add numbers to their checking accounts, but the mere numbers do not make them rich, because they do not change how they think.
Your mind is infinite. It’s your doubts that are limiting. Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged, said, “Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” So, if you are ready to change your life, I’m going to introduce you to an environment that will allow your brain to think—and you to grow richer- Getting rich Staying rich forum.
One reason you want to create your own business is to get your dignity back. Don’t underestimate the importance of this reason. The world is full of bullies and small-minded people, and whether they are your boss, your manager, your neighbor, or even your friend, you don’t want them pushing you around anymore. You want to take control of your life. You want to have the courage not to care when other people bully you around; you want to have the freedom to think and act for yourself.
The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship defines the entrepreneurial mindset as the set of attitudes, skills and behaviors that you need to succeed personally, professionally and financially. These include: initiative and self-direction, risk-taking, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving. Other definitions include the ability to see opportunities, marshal resources and create value
According to Greenberg, entrepreneurship is an essential life skill and it’s never too soon to get started. As he sees it, adapting the proper mindset and learning the basic principles of entrepreneurship can transform people into successful business owners. But it all starts with how you define “entrepreneur.”
“An entrepreneur is a problem seeker, a problem solver, and an innovator,” says Greenberg. “I don’t think entrepreneurship is limited to those who start organizations or ventures. More than anything, an entrepreneur is a person that can add value.
Under that definition, the path towards entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset can be pursued by anyone, including a teen. For those who are interested in attaining entrepreneurial success for themselves, Greenberg lays out its three core components.
The Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship
Identify the opportunity. This usually means finding a problem to be solved or a need to be filled.
Create value. Solving the problem or filling the need in a unique way. Capture that value.
“Once you’ve done One and Two, Three is really easy,” says Greenberg. “Everything is an exchange of value. For example, if you’re aware of a particular need in your environment, and you’re constantly creating value, you’ll be running the place at some point.
Entrepreneurship starts with finding ways to add value to the environment you’re already in, whether that’s the classroom, the athletic field, at home, or community.
For you to be a successful Entrepreneur you must have a creative mindset to identify an opportunity, create value and capture that value.
See you at the top.